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loads a library of Scilab functions and variables, and sets its name


namelib = lib(lib_dir)



single path of the directory containing the lib file of the library to load. The TMPDIR, SCIHOME, SCI, home possible prefixes may be used and are expanded according to the value of corresponding predefined variables. Example: lib("SCI/modules/atoms/atoms_internals") will work.


Scilab variable (of type 14 and typeof "library") addressing the loaded library (its handle). This output argument is mandatory. Otherwise, lib() sets ans as library's identifier, whose value will be overwritten and lost shortly after.


A Scilab library can be built with the genlib() function. It is made of

  • a dedicated directory lib_dir.
  • a set of .bin files created by genlib() in the directory. These files contain the binary code of compiled Scilab functions.
  • a file named lib. This file is an XML one and so is editable. It registers the list of *.bin files (and so features) belonging to the library.

All other files belonging to lib_dir and not registered in the lib file are ignored. In particular, the original source *.sci files compiled by genlib() to create *.bin ones may indifferently remain in the directory or be removed.

lib() only reads the lib file, builds the library object accordingly, and returns its handle as namelib.

Then, namelib allows

  • to get the path to the library (= lib_dir).
  • to get the list of functions belonging to the library
  • to address functions members, resolving possible names conflicts.

For more information about libraries and their assets with respect to a simple set of unbundled functions as created and loaded by getd(), please see the dedicated page.

load(lib_dir+"/lib") may be used instead of lib() to load the library. The library identifier is then the default one set when compiling and creating the library with genlib(). Its name is registered in the lib file.

Hence, lib() (re)sets the library name, while load() does not allow to set it.

  • namelib is created in the current scope. It is NOT a global object. Hence, if lib() is used inside a function, namelib (and so the access to the library) will not survive when leaving the function, unless it is returned as output object.

  • If lib_dir contains some subdirectories where some other (sub)libraries are stored, lib(lib_dir) does not load them recursively. If needed, lib() must be called for each of them.


Loading an existing Scilab sublibrary:

// atomsDisp() is a function belonging to the atoms_internallib Scilab sub-library.
// This sub-library is loaded only inside the atoms manager. Outside it, the library
// -- and so all its functions -- are unknown:
--> atomsDisp("abc")

Undefined variable: atomsDisp

Let's load the library with lib():

thislib = lib("SCI/modules/atoms/macros/atoms_internals");
thislib   // display from the library identifier
--> thislib = lib("SCI/modules/atoms/macros/atoms_internals")
 thislib  =

Functions files location : SCI\modules\atoms\macros\atoms_internals.

atomsDESCRIPTIONadd  atomsDepTreeFlat  atomsAUWriteAccess  atomsDESCRIPTIONread
atomsCompatibleVersions  atomsCloseProgressBar  atomsAutoloadLoad  atomsToremoveList
atomsCategoryGet  atomsInstallRegister  atomsDisp  atomsToremoveRegister 
atomsRmfields  atomsGetDepParents  atomsSetInstalledList  atomsLoadInstalledStruct 
atomsDESCRIPTIONcat  atomsReadDesc  atomsDESCRIPTIONrm  atomsOpenProgressBar

Now use its atomsDisp() function:

isdef("atomsDisp", "l") // is false: we have not yet called it.
atomsDisp("lib() test") // This automatically scans all loaded libraries
                        //  searching for "atomsDisp". It is found in
                        //  "thislib" and automatically loaded from it.
                        // It now exists for any further calls:
isdef("atomsDisp", "l")
clear atomsDisp         // If it is cleared...
whos -name atoms
atomsDisp("Test")       // It is then automatically recovered from its library
whos -name atoms
--> isdef("atomsDisp", "l")
 ans  =
--> atomsDisp("lib() test")
Testing lib()

--> isdef("atomsDisp", "l")
 ans  =
--> clear atomsDisp         // If it is cleared...
--> whos -name atoms        //  .. no longer defined
Name                     Type           Size           Bytes
atomsguilib              library                       466
atomslib                 library                       2488

--> atomsDisp("Test")

--> whos -name atoms
Name                     Type           Size           Bytes
atomsDisp                function                      3300
atomsguilib              library                       466
atomslib                 library                       2488

If we delete the library handle, its members not already called become unreachable:

clear thislib
atomsDisp("abc")                                // still callable, since already loaded
winid = atomsOpenProgressbar("Message", %t);    // => error
--> atomsDisp("abc")

--> winid = atomsOpenProgressBar("Message", %t);

Undefined variable: atomsOpenProgressBar

Let's now use load() to reload the library:

// The default name of the library is "atomsinternalslib"
// It is not loaded at the Scilab startup:
atomsinternalslib      // => error
// Let's load it:
load("SCI/modules/atoms/macros/atoms_internals/lib"); // We refer to the "lib" file
or(librarieslist()=="atomsinternalslib")              // OK, now true
whos -name at
winid = atomsOpenProgressBar("Message", %t);         // now it works
--> atomsinternalslib
Undefined variable: atomsinternalslib

--> load("SCI/modules/atoms/macros/atoms_internals/lib");

--> or(librarieslist()=="atomsinternalslib")
 ans  =

--> whos -name at
Name                     Type           Size           Bytes
atomsDisp                function                      3300
atomsguilib              library                       466
atomsinternalslib        library                       5586
atomslib                 library                       2488

--> winid = atomsOpenProgressBar("Message", %t);     // now it works

See also

  • load — Loads some archived variables, a saved graphic figure, a library of functions
  • librarieslist — gets the list of loaded Scilab libraries
  • libraryinfo — gets the path and the set of primary functions of a loaded library
  • library — library datatype
  • genlib — builds a library from a set of *.sci files defining functions in a given directory
  • whereis — Returns the name of the loaded library/module a given function belongs to
  • getd — Charge toutes les fonctions contenues dans un répertoire.


6.0 lib() no longer needs the names file (ignored). It now uses the lib file, that is now mandatory.
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Last updated:
Mon Mar 27 10:12:45 GMT 2023